The Espresso Blend is foundational to Opus Coffee. As one of the first blends crafted by Opus Coffee when they started roasting, this blend quickly became the heart of the Opus community. 

The Hospital Roots

Brothers Tim and Bret Larson started working at a small coffee kiosk in a Miami hospital at the end of high school. Within a couple of years, they developed their management skills and were practically running the business. This experience inspired them to start their own coffee shop. 

They began contacting hospitals throughout Florida and traveled around, staying with friends, to find a place that would give them a chance. Eventually, they made a deal with Shands (now UF Health). They bought used equipment, packed it in the back of their old Ford Escort station wagon, and moved to Gainesville to open their first coffee cart in Shands Alachua General Hospital in late 2002.

The Birth of “Latte Da”

Like many of us, Opus Coffee was born in a hospital, originally under the name “Latte Da.” It was a lot of hard work with many challenges for the two brothers to run their coffee business. They had to work long hours, store their supplies in their apartment, share a car, and manage everything with just the two of them. 

In the mornings, Tim would run errands while Bret worked the bar, and switching shifts in the afternoon. Despite their humble beginnings, their hard work paid off. The following year, they were invited to the main UF Health Shands location, creating a long-term relationship with the hospital.  Over 20 years later, they are now selling their coffee at 6 locations within the UF Health system.

Community Expansion

After thriving in the hospitals, which are such a big part of the city of Gainesville, the brothers decided they wanted to be more accessible to the whole community of local coffee lovers and college patrons. Creating the Airstream and Innovation locations allowed Opus to provide their signature craft coffee to a wider audience than ever imagined.

Crafting the Heart of Opus

In 2012 Opus Coffee decided it was time to start roasting their own coffee. At the root of Opus Coffee Roasters is the Espresso Blend, which has been renamed the Heartbeat Espresso Blend to pay homage to Opus’ hospital beginnings. It represents the warmth, hard work, and perseverance that define the Opus community.  A distinct blend of coffees from Indonesia, Africa, and South America, it is dark roasted to ensure the flavor of the beans shines through in any espresso-based drink. The buttery texture and notes of brown sugar and dark chocolate are what makes the heartbeat espresso blend the beloved foundation of the Opus community and the heart of the locations for many of the drinks they serve. 

Today, Opus Coffee has grown from a single coffee cart to ten locations and around 100 employees. The Heartbeat espresso blend continues to be a constant companion, fueling conversations, study sessions, and moments of connection in Opus locations across Gainesville. It’s more than just coffee; it’s a blend that brings the heart of Opus and its community together.